Date of Award

5-1-2013

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Behavior Analysis and Therapy

First Advisor

Rehfeldt, Ruth Anne

Abstract

The current study examined the effectiveness of a computer-based cognitive defusion intervention on the degree of believability and discomfort of problematic thoughts in two adolescents and one young adult with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) using a multiple probe design across participants. Participants identified a problematic thought that they often had during social interactions with peers which was then targeted throughout the intervention. Primary measures included rating scales for thought believability and discomfort and criterion for therapeutic change was a 30-increment decrease in the mean average of rating scores from baseline levels for three consecutive intervention sessions. Results demonstrated a significant change in the believability of one participant's thought believability that met the therapeutic criterion. However, the remaining participants' rating scores following the intervention did not decrease below the criterion. Secondary measures for cognitive fusion, psychological inflexibility, and mindfulness included the AAQ-II, BAFT, CFQ, and CAMM pre and posttests. Results from these pre and posttest measures did not indicate a significant therapeutic change following treatment. More research is needed to examine the effectiveness of an automated defusion intervention with this population.

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